Preparing Before Seeking Help

If you’ve completed the steps to resolve your loan dispute and you still are not satisfied, you may need to contact the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman Group of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The Ombudsman Group is a neutral, informal, and confidential resource to help resolve disputes about your federal student loans.

Contact the Ombudsman Group as a last resort. Make every effort to resolve your student loan problems before contacting the Ombudsman Group.


How can the Ombudsman Group help me?

They can help you

  • resolve discrepancies with loan balances and payments;
  • explain loan interest and collection charges;
  • identify options for resolving your issues related to consolidation, service quality, default status, bankruptcy, income tax refund offsets, and other concerns;
  • clarify requirements for loan deferment or forbearance and loan cancellation or discharge; and
  • identify loan repayment options.

They do not

  • automatically take your side in a complaint;
  • make binding decisions or overturn the decisions of other entities;
  • accept complaints about grants;
  • accept complaints about private student loans;
  • accept complaints when ED has already begun formal or legal investigations;
  • accept loan payments or process deferment, forbearance, or discharge requests (you must contact your loan servicer or collection agency directly);
  • replace regular or formal channels of problem resolution within ED; or
  • testify or serve as a witness.


How do I get prepared before contacting FSA’s Ombudsman Group?

Take the following steps to help you prepare for a discussion with the Ombudsman Group.

    1. Complete the relevant information on the Ombudsman Information Checklist.
    2. Clearly think about your desired outcome. Answer the following questions:
      • What is the problem?
      • What is your expectation?
      • What is preventing you from resolving your issue?
      • Are you willing to complete the necessary actions to achieve your desired outcome?


How do I contact the Ombudsman Group?

If you’ve completed the preparation steps above, and you have done everything you can to resolve your dispute, contact the Ombudsman Group through one of these methods:

Postal Mail U.S. Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman Group
830 First Street, N.E.
Fourth Floor
Washington, DC 20202-5144
Phone 1-877-557-2575
Fax 202-275-0549

Or complete the secure and confidential Ombudsman Assistance Request Form. Remember, the Ombudsman Group can help resolve disputes about federal student loans. If you have a dispute about your private student loan, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


What if I want to give permission for somebody else to act on my behalf?

If you’d like somebody else, such as a family member or friend, to work directly with the Ombudsman Group regarding your student loan issue, then complete this Privacy Release Statement & Third Party Release Form (.doc) or Privacy Release Statement & Third Party Release Form (PDF). If you have already given your representative power of attorney, then they may submit that (to the address or fax number listed in the table above) as proof of your authorization to act on your behalf.